Giving back is a win-win situation

May 1, 2020#CommuniTea Stories

Homework Group volunteer talks to North North Richmond Community Health's #CommuniTea Stories

👤 Kooilan, Homework Group Volunteer

☕ Coffee/tea order: Cappuccino 

“I grew up in a small town in Malaysia that doesn’t exist anymore.  I did a Bachelor of Science (Maths and Physics) in Kuala Lumpur and then began a career in teaching. I loved teaching maths – I had a handful of mischievous boys in my classes and I had to make my teaching very creative to get their attention! However, I felt that staying in school and becoming Head of Department was not my calling in life.

I was lucky that I was in charge of the Computer Science Appreciation Club at the school I taught at and I realised, ‘hang on, I love this!’ So I came to Australia to do a postgraduate diploma in computer science because I wanted a career switch (and computer science degrees did not exist in Malaysia at that time). When I finished my degree, I got a job here and stayed in Information Technology (IT) ever since.

I was going to apply for a teaching position after I retired two years ago from the IT world, but my daughter suggested I volunteer as a tutor at North Richmond Community Health instead. My reason wasn’t altruistic, it was just to keep my mind going, but being able to give back to the community made it a win-win situation. It was very challenging for me – the younger volunteers have a better rapport with the children because they can relate better. I’m like an ancient lady to them – there’s a generation gap.

I hope that through volunteering, we can instil a love of knowledge and sharing to make this world a better place. With the young kids, I try and make maths fun – I use gamification and I relate maths to the real world.  I wish I had the exposure when I was young to see how maths can be used beyond studies. I never had that opportunity to think that way when I was young, and a lot of people don’t see the value of it. But I can do that now with these kids.”

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